The 'thigh gap': a new teen body obsession

By: Megan Lowry Email
By: Megan Lowry Email
50% of young girls report feeling unhappy about their bodies.

(WEAU)--The newest body image obsession called 'the thigh gap' is raising eyebrows on modern beauty standards, even among young people in our area.

"It's scary as a mom, I don't want my young daughter thinking she's fat," Mandy Scheffler said.

It's a reaction most moms would likely have after seeing latest body obsession on social media sites.

Teenagers are posting pictures of their legs or reposting pictures of models on social media sites like Pinterest , Tumblr and twitter.

“The thigh gap is a relatively new phenomenon it focuses on the actual dimensions of a girls thighs,” Mary Geissler with UW-Madison Cooperative Extension-Chippewa County said.

A quick Google search pops up page after page of thigh gap pictures and posts. Girls and women idolizing the space left between their legs when they are standing with their feet together.

"What many young girls don't realize when they are watching these pictures on Facebook or on television is that many of those pictures are photo shopped so the image of that women's body is unrealistic to say the least," said Geissler.

Geissler says the bombardment of these kinds of images is dangerous because for most girls the 'model' thigh gap is unachievable

"The focus on thin leads girls to the use diet pills and bulimia," Geissler said.

“I definitely social media has influenced women to be more obsessive about their bodies and what they should put in their body so they can look at certain way,” said Scheffler mother of a nine year old.

“Girls have these expectations that they need to dress a certain way and have a certain image in order to be cool and in order to be accepted or even to just feel comfortable with themselves," Katie Peterson said.

That's where experts say adults need to "hit delete" on their own body obsessions too.

Geissler says a good way to open up a body image conversations with your teenager is to look at whose poster is hanging on their wall and ask them why they like them.

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